HAP's Latest News

A New Type of Heart Disease

October 12, 2023

The American Heart Association this week sent a national alert identifying a new condition that connects obesity, Type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.

This week, the association outlined cardiovascular-kidney-metabolic (CKM) syndrome. The syndrome formally connects the four common conditions, while highlighting the importance of prevention.

“We now have several therapies that prevent both worsening kidney disease and heart disease,” said Chiadi E. Ndumele, MD, PhD, MH, FAHA, director of obesity and cardiometabolic research in the division of cardiology at Johns Hopkins University. “The advisory provides guidance for health care professionals about how and when to use those therapies, and for the medical community and general public about the best ways to prevent and manage CKM syndrome.”

Here's what you need to know:

  • A spectrum:  CKM syndrome has stages ranging from zero (no risk factors) to Stage Four, which is the highest-risk stage. CKM affects every major organ in the body, with the biggest impact on the cardiovascular system.
  • Goal:  The heart association is looking to highlight the overlap between cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. The association hopes to identify people in the earlier stages and ensure timely treatment and management of their health.
  • By the numbers:  About one in three American adults has three or more risk factors contributing to cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, and/or kidney disease, the heart association noted.
  • Care needs:  The new condition offers another opportunity to address fragmented care and to “better work together as part of one unified team to treat the whole patient,” Ndumele said.
  • Quotable:  “There is a need for fundamental changes in how we educate health care professionals and the public, how we organize care, and how we reimburse care related to CKM syndrome,” Ndumele said

The presidential advisory and a news release about the condition are available online.